Transfer your pictures efficiently in 6 easy steps

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Usually transferring pictures is the simplest step of any photographer’s workflow. However, the results of transferring your pictures can affect your entire picture collection. There are some simple things that anyone can do to transfer their pictures in an efficient way. I can think of five things that proved to be very helpful over the years in the way I organize my photo collection on my computer.

Make sure you have set up your camera’s date and time properly

It is very common to see beginning photographers who do not pay attention to this detail after purchasing a new digital camera. Many times the cameras don’t come setup for the place where you live and the date and time are way off. It is very important to set your camera’s data and time correctly (Read 5 Steps to optimize your camera).

Insert your card securely into the card reader.

No comment here…just do it !

Have a separate transfer folder.

This is where I pile up all the new photos I transfer from my camera. This is very helpful when I just want to see the pictures quickly and you don’t have time to file and tag them properly. In this folder I delete the really bad pictures (like the ones my daughter takes of the floor and ceiling). This transfer folder will contain sub-folders for each set of pictures I took in a given day.

My Pictures
  TRANSFER

Create a separate sub-folder for each day of shooting.

This sub-folder should go in your transfer folder. I only do this automatically with the software I am using. Picasa, Lightroom and FastStone can be setup to create these sub-folders automatically whenever you import new photos. I never do it manually. So, it should be something like: 2009_01_28. So my folders look something like:

My Pictures
  TRANSFER
    2009-01-28
    2009-01-29

Rename each image so that the file name contains the date when the picture was taken.

This is an optional step that I also perform automatically with the software I am using. FastStone and Lightroom support this feature while Picasa doesn’t. The image file name that my camera creates has no meaning to a human, so having the date in the file name will help a lot to visually identify a picture. Some people prefer adding the date to the original file name others don’t want to change the original file name. I prefer renaming my pictures date-original-file-name…or something like: 2009-01-28-IMG_1234.jpg. So, the transfer folder for my pictures will look something like:

My Pictures
  TRANSFER
    2009-01-28
      2009-01-28-IMG-1234.jpg
      2008-01-28-IMG-1235.jpg
    2009-01-29
      2009-01-29-IMG-0001.jpg
      2008-01-29-IMG-0002.jpg

Go through the folder names you have just transferred and create meaningful names.

There is great advantage in naming my folders right after I transfer them. Why? Well, for one thing the images are fresh in my mind and I can easily create a folder name that is efficient for later filing. (Read Organize your pictures in 5 easy steps). So, if I have time I rename the sub-folders. Once I name them in a consistent way, I can move the folder in the right place later and then I can start tagging the pictures if I don’t have time when I transfer them.

Essentials for organizing your digital photos

Over the years I have come to rely on only a few products for managing and backing up my large media collection. These are my essential products and services I have been using for many years to keep things organized and safe. Even though these are affiliate links, I wholeheartedly recommend them.

I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
If you don't like the subscription, you can get also download the last standalone Adobe Lightroom 6 for Mac or Windows (while it is still available). However, the product is no longer maintained by Adobe.

Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac or ACDSee Pro for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing your media on your computer. It has a very fast browser, beautiful image editing capabilities and you don't work with catalogs at all.

In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.

If you're looking for a reliable unlimited cloud backup service, I recommend Backblaze Cloud Backup. I have used Backblaze for my online backup for more than 3 years now. All my files are safe and secure and I have never had any problems with them.

YOURS FREE! 10 crucial steps most people miss when organizing their digital photos

Most people want to just organize their digital pictures and ignore these crucial steps right at the beginning...when they are shooting and transferring their digital pictures. Then they wonder why they can't organize their digital photos! Avoid most people's mistakes and start on the right track!

Start organizing now using detailed, step-by-step instructions and videos:
Personal Coaching (closed) Private Lessons Independent Course
Reference book Basics book Picasa book

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  1. steve

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